University of Melbourne holds two-day academic conference on Taylor Swift ahead of Australia leg of Eras Tour

Aprilia Rine

University of Melbourne holds two-day academic conference on Taylor Swift ahead of Australia leg of Eras Tour
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The University of Melbourne rolled out the red carpet for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concerts in the city by holding ‘Swiftposium’, a two-day academic conference about the pop star’s life and career. 

According to the Swiftposium website, the event – held on the university’s campus from February 11 to February 13 – was “a hybrid academic conference for scholars to engage in critical dialogue about Swift’s popularity and its profound implications for a range of issues.”

Around 400 academic papers from 78 universities across the world were submitted for discussion at the event. 130 of these papers were accepted, with researchers involved in disciplines including gender studies, musicology, economics, urban planning and medicine, among others.

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The conference saw attendees discuss topics including Swift’s feud with Kanye West, the feminism of her lyrics, the use of her songs for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and her ongoing battle with graphic deepfake images. The Swiftposium also hosted a keynote address by Dr. Georgia Carroll, who published a thesis on fandom communities like Swift’s in 2023.

Taking to X (formerly known as Twitter) to discuss the event, senior lecturer in cultural studies and Swiftposium organiser Hannah McCann wrote: “Academics from all over the world [are] applying their expertise and critical lens to this crazy phenomenon.”

While the conference was only open to academics, the nearby RMIT University hosted a ‘Fanposium’ on February 11, where fans and the public were able to gather for offshoot Swiftposium events.

The conference comes ahead of the Aussie leg of Swift’s Eras Tour, which kicks off with a three-night run at Melbourne Cricket Ground from February 16. Those shows – which are predicted to draw the biggest-ever crowds of Swift’s career – will be followed by four concerts in Sydney, with the Aussie leg of the tour wrapping up at Accor Stadium on February 26.

In other Swift news, the pop star made headlines by attending the 2024 Super Bowl, where her boyfriend Travis Kelce was playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. She went viral for downing a beer on the big screen and managed to catch up with Paul McCartney, who was also present at the American football game.

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